Somalia Table of Contents
Statue of socialist workers, Mogadishu, erected in the
Courtesy Hiram A. Ruiz
The military coup that ended the democratic regime retroactively defined its action as a Marxist revolution not only instituting a new political order but also proposing the radical transformation of Somali society through the application of "scientific socialism." Despite the presence of Soviet advisers with the armed forces, no evidence indicated that the coup was Soviet-inspired. SRC members included officers ranging in rank from major general (Siad Barre and Jaama Ali Qoorsheel) to captain, but the young Soviet-trained junior officers--versed in Marx and Lenin--who had encouraged the coup were excluded from important positions in the revolutionary regime.
The SRC, which was synonymous with the new government, reorganized the country's political and legal institutions, formulated a guiding ideology based on the Quran as well as on Marx, and purged civilian officials who were not susceptible to "reeducation." The influence of lineage groups at all levels and elitism in public life based on clan affiliation were targeted for eradication. Eventually, Siad Barre emerged as Somalia's strongman, spokesman for its revolution, and leader of its government. In 1971 he announced the regime's intention to phase out military rule after the establishment of a political party whose central committee ultimately would supersede the SRC as a policy- and decision-making body.